NEIPA stratification in the fermerter

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Agentgonzo

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For a variety of reasons, this is my fermenting/bottling process
  1. I don't use a bottling bucket (too much faff)
  2. I bottle straight from the fermenter (there is a convenient tap at the bottom I can squirt beer straight into the bottle)
  3. I prime each bottle individually (1/2 or 1 tsp of sugar per 500ml bottle to keep it simple)
  4. I don't put the priming sugar into the fermenter, as then I would have to stir it all up, which would stir up all the trub
I made my first Hazy/NEIPA a couple of months back and have slowly (I don't drink huge amounts)making my way through it. It didn't have the overpowering fruit explosion in the glass that NEIPA is known for. I attribute this to me not putting a metric fuckton of hops in the fermenter (I only used 200g because this is my first time doing a NEIPA) and it being my first time, and possible oxydisation (I don't do pressure transfers, so gravity transfers and the resulting contact with the oh-so-evil air is my only option (please don't evangelise at me!)

But this last bottle I opened is fascinating, as it does have the fruit explosion in the glass. It's from a different box of bottles, so my best guess is that the beer stratified to a certain extent in the fermenter, with the beer at the top/bottom being in contact with the hops more (depending on whether the hops floated or sank - I just chucked them in rather than using a spider/depth-charge) and getting a LOT more hop flavour. As the beer got gently bottled, it didn't mix, so the bottles from the bottom/top ended up with a LOT more hop flavour/aroma than the stuff in the middle of the fermenter.

It's really quite incredible. This is a completely different beer from the one I had yesterday, despite being literally the same batch from the same fermenter!
 

Paul7189

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I was under the impression that NEIPAs don’t bottle condition brilliantly because of the oxidation issues. Could it be that some are more oxidised than others causing the range of flavour? Are they all pouring the same colour?
 

Agentgonzo

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All poured the same colour. All were packaged in the same manner. I don't think a difference in oxidisation in the cause here
 

moto748

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I prefer to bottle from a secondary fermentor (in my case, a demi-john), so that I can be confident I'm not bottling too much trub. Which, I think, is likely to cause more variation bottle-to-bottle, as you describe..
 

Eskdale

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For a variety of reasons, this is my fermenting/bottling process
  1. I don't use a bottling bucket (too much faff)
  2. I bottle straight from the fermenter (there is a convenient tap at the bottom I can squirt beer straight into the bottle)
  3. I prime each bottle individually (1/2 or 1 tsp of sugar per 500ml bottle to keep it simple)
  4. I don't put the priming sugar into the fermenter, as then I would have to stir it all up, which would stir up all the trub
I made my first Hazy/NEIPA a couple of months back and have slowly (I don't drink huge amounts)making my way through it. It didn't have the overpowering fruit explosion in the glass that NEIPA is known for. I attribute this to me not putting a metric fuckton of hops in the fermenter (I only used 200g because this is my first time doing a NEIPA) and it being my first time, and possible oxydisation (I don't do pressure transfers, so gravity transfers and the resulting contact with the oh-so-evil air is my only option (please don't evangelise at me!)

But this last bottle I opened is fascinating, as it does have the fruit explosion in the glass. It's from a different box of bottles, so my best guess is that the beer stratified to a certain extent in the fermenter, with the beer at the top/bottom being in contact with the hops more (depending on whether the hops floated or sank - I just chucked them in rather than using a spider/depth-charge) and getting a LOT more hop flavour. As the beer got gently bottled, it didn't mix, so the bottles from the bottom/top ended up with a LOT more hop flavour/aroma than the stuff in the middle of the fermenter.

It's really quite incredible. This is a completely different beer from the one I had yesterday, despite being literally the same batch from the same fermenter!
I am sorry, and it is just my humble opinion, but I don't think that making a NEIPA suits your process.
In your pointers, 1. Using a bottling bucket is too much faff. Making a decent beer will inevitably involve what you call faff. It would I think be worth your while to use a bottling bucket and a wand, which takes care of point 2. A squirt from a tap into a bottle isn't good packaging sense, the movement of the beer into the bottle will definitely draw in oxygen.
Point 3 It is up to the individual their are several ways of priming and they all will work.
Point 4 brings me back to point one investment in a bottling bucket is worth while.

Stratifying in a finished beer I have never heard of. Pre fermentation of wort yes, beer no. I have heard of stratifying of CO2 in a finished beer spoke of among brewers.
Once again sorry, but just my opinion others may give a more favourable opinion to your process.

Emma
 
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Agentgonzo

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I prefer to bottle from a secondary fermentor (in my case, a demi-john), so that I can be confident I'm not bottling too much trub. Which, I think, is likely to cause more variation bottle-to-bottle, as you describe..
I have a conical fermenter with a bottom/side tap and a racking arm. After primary fermentation is complete, there is a very neat layer of trub. The racking arm draws almost-or-completely clear beer (except for hazy/cloudy ones) and leaves the trub completely undisturbed in the fermenter.
 

MickDundee

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I’m going to go against the other answers in the thread and disagree that a bottling bucket is necessary, I always thought it was one of these outdated ideas that is no longer needed. It’s just an extra step that risks oxidisation (especially given NEIPAs susceptibility to oxidation) IMO.

I’ve also never had a brew (or a fermenter) where there’s been so much trub (or that the tap has been so low) that masses of the stuff ends up in my bottle, apart from maybe the last bit where I’ve been over keen and tipped the FV up.

I do agree that bottling straight from the tap without a bottling wand (or at the very least tubing that reaches the bottom of the bottles) is a very bad idea for all beer styles though, sounds like a recipe for oxidation.
 

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I think that it may be the refermentation in the bottle that muted the hop aroma, the later bottles having more time to condition.

I'm in agreement with @Eskdale, your process doesn't fit the style. If you intend to have NEIPAs as a reoccurring style in your brew schedule, I'd seriously consider looking at getting a corny keg and co2, to compliment your FV, which sounds like it's up to the job. At the very least you'll be doing gravity transfers into an oxygen free vessel. This opens up different options for carbonation, and even bottling via a counter pressure filler.

Homebrewing. The most expensive way to save money.
 

Agentgonzo

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I think that it may be the refermentation in the bottle that muted the hop aroma, the later bottles having more time to condition.
I'm not sure I follow you here. I've been drinking these gradually, one every few days or so. There was a stark difference between the bottle I had last night (Bottle 'A') and the one I had two nights ago (Bottle 'B'). The only difference being "I got one from a different box" (ie, it came from a different height in the fermenter). Both bottle A and B had the same exact process, and bottle A conditioned for roughly 31 days, and bottle B conditioned for roughly 30 days - not a significant difference => they both conditioned for effectively the same amount of time. Both had exactly the same exposure to oxygen.

I was (naively) hoping that this would be a discussion about the difference in flavour of the bottles from the same fermenter, but I really should have know than any thread mentioning NEIPA would inevitably turn into a discussion about oxidisation 😞😂.
 

Sadfield

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There's too many, often degrading, variables in your process to be able to point a finger at stratification in the FV being the cause. One that's highly unlikely if the hops entered the fv at the top and ended up in the trub at the bottom, which in itself would cause some mixing in the FV.

Point 3. The variation in how much sugar goes into individual bottles being an example. Perhaps one conditioned quicker than the other.

With any style, oxygen is the enemy post fermentation. Perhaps the variation in priming sugar meant the yeast scavenged more of that oxygen in one bottle, resulting in less oxidation and more hop flavour.
 
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Agentgonzo

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Perhaps the variation in priming sugar meant the yeast scavenged more of that oxygen in one bottle, resulting in less oxidation and more hop flavour.
That's certainly a possibility. There will always be a small variation in priming sugar when priming bottles individually, but each bottle got a level teaspoon, so I would take a rough estimate at a max variation of maybe 10% between bottles. All bottles got plenty enough to carbonate at the same initial rate to scavenge oxygen IMO (they would just carbonate for a shorter/longer time). However, I can't guarantee that the amount of suspended yeast was the same across the batch, which definitely would affect carbonation (and thus oxygen scavenging) rates. I'd not thought of that - Thank you!

I think that the next dry-hopped batch I do (NEIPA isn't my favourite) I may test samples when bottling (from the bottom, middle and top of the fermenter) and see if I can note any differences. That will certainly exclude any oxydisation from the equation.
 
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In case it helps, stratification can only happen with tiny particles of solids suspended in a fluid. Things that are actually dissolved (like hop aroma compounds, oxygen, salts etc) get dispersed evenly throughout the solution within an hour or two even if there is no stirring of any kind athumb..
Of course that’s not to say the effect you noticed isn’t something to do with small particles.
 

Agentgonzo

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How certain are you of this?
The best video I could find on the topic is this one.
Granted, it's only showing it for 10 minutes, but the 20° test tube (same temperature as my fermenter) showed very little diffusion over 10 minutes. And a test tube is a lot smaller than a fermenter!

Maybe stratification was the wrong term. What I was meaning was "different concentrations of hop flavour/aroma compounds at different depths in the fermenter"
 
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How certain are you of this?
The best video I could find on the topic is this one.
Granted, it's only showing it for 10 minutes, but the 20° test tube (same temperature as my fermenter) showed very little diffusion over 10 minutes. And a test tube is a lot smaller than a fermenter!

Maybe stratification was the wrong term. What I was meaning was "different concentrations of hop flavour/aroma compounds at different depths in the fermenter"

As I said,”within an hour or two”.
A test tube is indeed smaller than a fermenter, but it is the surface area to volume ratio that matters.
 

hoppyscotty

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I was under the impression that NEIPAs don’t bottle condition brilliantly because of the oxidation issues. Could it be that some are more oxidised than others causing the range of flavour? Are they all pouring the same colour?
Just a case of timing. The process of oxidation takes time, so if you drink quickly enough then it isn't an issue. but if you want to leave your bottles lying around for months then it might be an issue. I now do completely o2 free beers since moved onto kegging with a pressure capable fermenter, but when I used to bottle conditioned everything even the NEIPA's I did were fine initially and if a bottle or two lasted more than 4 months or so only then would I see a difference...but even at that point in time it was still a perfectly nice and drinkable beer, just not quite as fresh and hoppy as it was.
 
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There is only one thing that will seemingly change the taste of a beer from one bottle to the next, presuming all things being equal and that is the temperature of the beer. There is no strata between top middle and bottom, the flavour will be throughout.
If you have a heavily hopped beer, drink one cold and one warm the flavours will be entirely different and more noticable in the warmer beer.
As for the bottling wands that is good advice, splashing and sloshing beer into a bottle is not good. Another piece of advice every living thing needs sugar, that includes bacteria and anything else which may want to spoil your beer. Add the sugar to boiling water to kill anything living on the sugar and administer the solution through a syringe.
Try to get your head around get the basic fundamentals of brewing before moving on to a more difficult beer to master.
 

Agentgonzo

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There is only one thing that will seemingly change the taste of a beer from one bottle to the next, presuming all things being equal and that is the temperature of the beer. There is no strata between top middle and bottom, the flavour will be throughout.
These beers we're all drunk straight from the fridge so the temperature was the same, yet the beers tasted completely different. Ergo all other things can't be equal.


Add the sugar to boiling water to kill anything living on the sugar and administer the solution through a syringe.
Try to get your head around get the basic fundamentals of brewing before moving on to a more difficult beer to master.
I sterilise the sugar before adding it. Try to get your head around other people's brewing practises before criticising them.
 
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I always bottle from the tap. I think Gonzo was being flippant with his words though as you never go for `sloshing' as that creates foam which makes bottling a pain. Bottle tilted and the beer run down the side of the bottle so no splashing.
If the result risks oxidation - well I've never tasted it.
 

Agentgonzo

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I always bottle from the tap. I think Gonzo was being flippant with his words though as you never go for `sloshing' as that creates foam which makes bottling a pain. Bottle tilted and the beer run down the side of the bottle so no splashing.
If the result risks oxidation - well I've never tasted it.
I also never said a sloshed it! 😂
 

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